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Old 01-20-2012   #1
bend, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 49
San Juan in August???

Floated the San Juan in June a couple years ago. Great weather( afternoon monsoons) and great time. Anything about floating in August I should know about????

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Old 01-20-2012   #2
cataraftgirl's Avatar
Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,121
Very hot, very low water.....especially this year. Be prepared for the possibility of dragging boats over sandbars on the last day. I had heard that the shuttle situation for the San Juan was more difficult in the last couple years, as many of the regular shuttle companies had quit doing shuttles. Not sure what the current scoop is. Hopefully someone will chime in with info about that.

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Old 01-20-2012   #3
Conifer, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 61
We floated San Juan in late July one year, and it was a great time. We spent most of the time in the water leaving just the captains in the boats. We ended up adopting local cottonwood logs and rode them with our boats. The water temp was slightly cooler than the air temp which meant that we went through our ice very fast, slept on the boats, had late nights on the beach around the fire and dragged loaded boats over sand bars to take out. We also had a flash flood take out a sand bar that we were going to camp on, so be aware of what is happening around you. A trip like this is not for everyone but may be fun if you like getting deep into canyon country and playing bocce or frisbee in the dark.

We also did our own shuttle, (it was porly exicuted) one vehical almost ran out of gas on the way to the take out, and we had to bring a can on our trip. That same car ended up running out before getting back to mexican hat. The road to the take out is rough and long. Find a shuttle company if you can it will be worth the $. Make sure every vehical it topped off before attempting on your own.
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Old 01-20-2012   #4
Paddling Since: 96
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,373
Great kid trip. Swimming, swimming, swimming.

600cfs will float a loaded raft...
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Old 01-20-2012   #5
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,408
Tips for San Juan any time of year.

Leave the last gas station in town for shuttle with a full gas tank, a good spare tire, excellent tread on your tires and good ground clearance. Drive slow on the dirt and most vehicles will make it. Drive fast and you will break things.

If you take ice, have good cooler technique, setup coolers so only one cooler at a time is opened with the rest taped shut.

Take plenty of drinking water. More than you think is necessary and drink water even if you drink "plenty" of adult beverages.

No matter what time of year be sure your camp site is able to handle a flash flood thru your tent or a over night river rise of several feet.

San Juan is one of the most scenic river trips around and needs plenty of days to enjoy, don't rush it.
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Old 01-20-2012   #6
Kayenta, Arizona
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 95
Jim...shuttle driver out of Bluff

As for shuttles go, you can't beat Jim out of Bluff. I don't have his number in front of me, but do a search on here for a few minutes and you will find his contact info. I have used him countless times over the past 5 years and he is reliable, affordable and responsible. He employs locals who know the road and will be where they said they would, when they said they would. His prices are fair. I wouldn't even bother to try Blackhawk out of Blanding, and all the services from Mexican Hat have closed down the past three years.

As for the river...I would recomend a good shade structure....especially around camp, but even on the boat. This is the one float we utilize our River-Buddy, or even just an umbrella wil do ya just fine. Plan on hot days, and possibly even volitale or unpredictable rain.

This can be the heart of monsoon season depending, so the river can be unpredictable....We once ran the upper 26 miles in less than 6 hours on August 2nd or 3rd a few years back at over 8 Grand...or it could be less than 1,000 and bumpy. The swings in August and September can be crazy!

As okie said, take your time and enjoy! This river obviously isn't done for the rapids, but for the scenery. August is a good time to see the sheeps, as they are often running dry on water from the pots up high and will be down near the river.

The water comment is right on, take more than you the water is usually really muddy this time of year and you won't want to settle it and filter it...take all your water.

I would recomend camping at one of the Honnaker sites in the lower and doing the Honnaker trail hike. This time of year, an evening and sunset hike up 1/2- 2/3 of the way would be sweet...if you make it all the way to the top, the view of Monument Valley is impressive. I would conservatively plan 2- 2.5 hours up, and 1-2 hours down if you make it to the top.

The last 11 miles are typically slow and draggy no matter what, unless the water is high, so take that into consideration. Plan for it to take more time.

Enjoy...though it isn't the most rapid-packed stretch of river, it is my favorite trip...good times!

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Old 01-20-2012   #7
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,408
That last 11 miles is always iffy.

Our last day plan has always been to get up way before dawn, cook, clean, pack and be setting in the rafts drinking coffee and start the float out before dawn breaks. Pushing, rowing and going back and forth looking for the channel is the norm.

On one trip, we got lucky. Silently in the late hours of the night, the San Juan came up at least two feet prolly more. We followed our usual drill but had current all the way to the takeout. Got there way before noon and while it was still cool. Awesome.

Bottom line, you might get lucky on that last day float - but it rarely happens!
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Old 01-21-2012   #8
bend, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 49
I love tbe Buzz. One question gets lots of helpful answers. Thanks all!

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